I’m very patriotic honoring the past, patient with the future, proud to be an American no matter what’s presently going on.
I’m a soldier’s daughter after all.
My dad served during the Second World War in the Royal Air Force (RAF) flying planes, stealing the hearing in his left ear as an honorary keepsake.
He never talked about his war days, and could never even watch a movie or newsreel that showed any kind of warfare. He kept what he saw locked in his heart, alcohol muting its memory.
I’ve often wondered if that’s what truly caused the alcoholism that eventually killed him, another casualty of war.
It brings me to Meyer, the Vietnam Vet, who panhandles in front of Best Buy wearing vintage fatigues, his dog tags entwining a sign that reads…
A Vietnam Veteran Who Needs Your Help
He always has a beer in a paper bag the cops never seem to bust him for.
Is it out of guilt.
I wonder if the masses walking past him realize the sacrifice he made. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention he’s got one arm that ends at his elbow, swaying in the sunshine like a lopsided ear of corn.
When I walked the Gettysburg Battlefield where in 1863 Pickett’s Charge took place, I thought I heard cries mewling from the earth. To this day I’m truly not sure if I imagined it or not. Patton claimed he heard them too, on other fields, from other wars.
Deadspeak, I’ve heard it called, where the souls that are trapped still trying to take flight, howl for help.
Into the valley of Death rode the six hundred…
There’s a graveyard in northern France where all the dead boys from D-Day are buried. The white crosses reach from one horizon to the other…
“Remember The Alamo.”
Robert Dale Draper, 19, was killed in an ambush.
Stan King, 21, was killed less than a week after reaching Vietnam.
Alfred Van Whitmer, 21, was killed while on patrol.
Larry J. West, 19 was shot near Quang Nam.
Jose Moncayo, 22, was part of an entire platoon wiped out.
Clive Garcia, 22, was killed by a booby trap while leading a patrol.
Daddy, we’ll remember the fallen, even if it’s painful…even if we don’t know all their names.